The British Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said that his country will not be able to immediately hand over combat aircraft to Ukraine, so it is focusing on alternative ways to strengthen Ukraine. At the same time, Mr. Wallace said that it is more realistic and promising to consider the supply of aircraft for Ukraine’s country already after the end of the war with russia, in the long term. Actually, as well as about the training of Ukraine’s pilots to perform combat missions, Wallace is also now talking about the "after the war" perspective.
Such statements look at least disappointing for Ukraine, as the country needs modern combat aircraft literally "for yesterday". But even more sad in this situation is that the British have rational arguments why they cannot provide the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets here and now.
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Such arguments were presented in its blog by RUSI. And in its article, RUSI says the following:
Ukraine needs fighters to combat russian aircraft and cruise missiles, particularly at low altitudes. And here, according to the British, this task is complicated for Ukraine in particular by the density of coverage of russia’s air defense systems such as the S-400 and S-300B4, which are apparently capable of shooting down air targets at a distance of up to 100 km, even at low altitude. And then everything will depend on what type of fighter that London decides to hand over to Ukraine.
Because, for example, the Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 is poorly adapted for low-altitude flights. To destroy air targets at a long range, such an aircraft can only use the American AIM-120D. And from the strike functionality, only the possibility of using Paveway II guided air bombs is provided, and only if the Litening III block is available.
RUSI also emphasizes that the Eurofighter Typhoon in any modification is not adapted for deployment "in field conditions", in particular on highways, as in Ukraine. And even under the conditions of operation at stationary air bases, Eurofighter maintenance is seemingly impossible without the involvement of British contractors.
It is impossible to remove at least the minimum number of fighters from the Royal Air Force to be immediately sent to Ukraine as well. Because all combat-capable jets are assigned to perform patrol missions either directly in the sky above Great Britain, or as part of NATO's air police, or in general as part of the demonstration of the presence and deterrence of Argentina in the Falkland Islands area. Accordingly, there are simply no "extra" planes here. And here is the question of their technical condition.
Even in the Royal Air Force of Great Britain, the practice of "cannibalizing spare parts" from combat fighters is widespread. And due to the high intensity of work and burnout, an large number of qualified aviation technicians who are able to constantly maintain the combat capability of the required number of Eurofighter Typhoons are leaving the army.
Accordingly, as RUSI experts emphasize, if it is worth daring to transfer British aircraft "in the long term", then only in order to stimulate the transfer to Ukraine of other Western-made fighters, first of all the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen, which are 30% consist of British-made components.
Otherwise, the transfer of the Eurofighter Typhoon will not make any sense to the British government itself. Especially if taking into account the large amount of scarce resources that the British will have to literally "detach" from the combat capability of their own Air Force.